In 2009, I discovered that a beloved cereal from my childhood, Franken Berry, had not disappeared as I thought, but instead had become a seasonal item. Around Halloween each year, General Mills releases Franken Berry along with other General Mills Monster Cereals. Since then, I have picked-up a box or two for myself every Halloween. I also wrote an extensive article about Franken Berry cereal here. Since the original article, there have been a couple of interesting developments.
One new development is the recognition by General Mills of the Monster Cereals’ cult following. When I was researching my first article in 2009, there was hardly any mention of the Monster Cereals at all on the General Mills website. But now, the Monster Cereals have their own page. In a statement on their website, General Mills says, “40 years and counting – Monster cereals have found a life of their own, sustained by bloggers and video sharing sites such as YouTube.” In 2012, a history of the Monster Cereals was posted to the General Mills website.
Perhaps based on the recognition of this cult following, and for the first time ever, the discontinued Fruit Brute (now Frute Brut) and Fruity Yummy Mummy will be released along with the signature Monster Cereals: Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry. It is the first time all five Monster Cereals will be available at the same time. Frute Brute has an additional element to its popularity, perhaps based less on nostalgia for the cereal itself and more on the fact that it was featured in the Quentin Tarantino films RESERVOIR DOGS and PULP FICTION. I’m thrilled that General Mills has responded to the fans this way, but as for me, I’m strictly a Franken Berry man.
In the original article, I took a scholarly look at the Franken Berry cereal box art and meticulously documented the changes that had occurred over the years. Since then, the box art has been updated again. It’s not their worst, but it is off in the wrong direction again. Still too purple. No sign of the cereal. Who are you, monster? I don’t know you.
So, imagine my joy when I saw the Franken Berry box on the store shelf the other day…with its original box artwork! It’s not even encumbered with adverts, coupon notices, or even a splash announcing the special retro artwork, but just the classic, goofy Franken Berry’s monster enjoying his beloved cereal. As another special treat for fans, General Mills has released all five Monster Cereals with their original artwork, exclusively at Target stores. I was previously unaware of this, but luckily, I happen to shop at Target.
Finally, I need to talk about the cereal itself. I registered only mild disappointment in my original review, but I was also under the influence of nostalgic joy and massive amounts of sugar. This year, more than ever, I am very dissatisfied with Franken Berry cereal. The taste and mouth feel is just too light and insubstantial. I expect the artificial note, but what I don’t expect or understand is how a cereal like this can be so bland. The recipe has been changed over the years from an oat and corn blend (like the far superior Lucky Charms) to a 100% corn recipe. Fans love the Monster Cereals and we appreciate the response of General Mills, but based on comments I found on the General Mills website, it’s clear that fans want the original recipe. This is a limited, seasonal release that is clearly marketed largely to middle-aged, nostalgic fans and I would happily pay an extra $.50 per box for the original recipe. Until then, I am probably down to just one box a year.
Appendix A – Links
General Mills Monster Cereal official website
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